A month already?!?

Taken in Jaffa, with Tel Aviv in the back ground

Leaving Frankfurt to TEL AVIV!!!

Our 5 hour flight to Israel went well, we all took more naps and the kids loved getting more airplane food.  We got picked up at the airport and made our way to our apartment with our sponsors waiting for us.  The Embassy has been extremely gracious to us, they have set us up with sponsors (a family who lives in our area) and set us up with a “welcome kit” with all the needs of living before our stuff arrives.  We were only allowed to ship 1,000 lbs by air and 4,000 lbs by boat.  So the Embassy also supplies all of our LARGE furniture, which isn’t quite my style, but I am able to go to Ikea and spice it up a bit, or at least trying.  We got meals provided by some Embassy families a few nights the first week. That really helped! We also got our car about a week after we arrived, it’s a Mazda 3 (Israeli style, a few dents and scratches, but for $2,000 we didn’t expect much and it’s in really good shape!)  Our apartment is beautiful with plenty of space and storage, and a Mediterranean Sea view! (For all my friends and family reading this, I will post pictures of our place on FB, I do not want pics of our place being out there for the whole world. I take my FB very serious when it comes to safety as well) We are very thankful for the storage and space, as apartment living in DC really go to us. And we are reminded by lots of Israelis, that storage and space is very hard to come by. We have done LOTS of walking and exploring our neighborhood, which you can throw a rock in any direction and find a park, so the kids are thrilled about that. Parks, the beach, grocery stores, lots of shops, restaurants, and bike paths (although the teens riding at a high speed on their electric bikes are quite terrifying) are dozens within a short walk. Also, kids here are free to do whatever they want by themselves, even as young as Kindergarteners. So this has been a good growing lesson for Devin. He has gotten to head out by himself a few times, Joycelyn, not so much. That girl NEVER looks for cars, here in Israel the parents teach their kids at a very young age to ALWAYS look and then cross (Israel drivers may be quick to honk and cut you off, but they really obey their lights and crosswalks, everywhere!) So, Joycelyn won’t be going out on her own much, okay…NEVER.  Tel Aviv is a very safe place, this city is always so alive and people don’t every stay home! After work the markets are packed, streets are packed, beaches and running trails are packed, and parks are FULL of kids and families…everywhere, ALL the time!! It is kind of a wonderful thing, in America everyone goes home around 7ish to get their families washed up and put to bed…NOT here!! Crime is very low, in fact, the only crime that has a problem here is bike theft. People will steal bikes in broad daylight, especially those very pricey motorized ones! Not too worried about our Walmart bikes, in fact, our bike locks have probably cost more than the bikes themselves!

We have met with our new friends who we met back in January, who have jumped right in as an Aunt and Uncle position. They also have introduced us to some a new family with kids the same age as Devin and Joycelyn. We are trying to make those connections, it is hard at times, but we know that doors like this will open for us when its time. We have also met a family who were kind of passed onto us by the past 2 Tel Aviv families. Wonderful people as well, and we look forward to making many memories with all of our new friends!

David is completely free until August when Ulpan (language school) starts then college courses in October. Which we have never had him home so much in our lives!! He does LOTS of studying but he is home!! It’s been wonderful, compared to all those dozens of deployments we have been through in the last 11 years. Since the kids don’t start school until August as well, it has allowed us to take a nice 4 day trip up to the north. I will post about that in another post.

I can’t think of any other way to describe some stuff, so I am going to just make it into a bullet format with subcategories. This should be fun J

Things we have learned about moving overseas. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that we have most of the stuff we need to live off of, it’s just the feeling of “home” I truly miss

  • When you get to ship 2 separate shipments pack MORE of what you will really miss for several months. Like: clothes hampers, ALL my kitchen stuff, my plates, my knives (oh, I miss my knives) BIG coffee cups (the embassy supplies very tiny, almost 2 sip coffee cups) my crockpot (BAD!! It seems I have been to the grocery store at least once a day since we have arrived and I still can’t come up with a recipe to cook dinner, other than frozen pizza, spaghetti, frozen schnitzel. I just seems I have forgotten and I am SO lost in the grocery store with Israeli products, and just because I can read the Hebrew word, doesn’t mean I know what it says!) my OWN bedding, MORE kids’ toys (we failed at that one) my Swiffer mop,

Things that we have learned so far in Israel

  • People everywhere ALL of the time!
  • Don’t go to the grocery store in a bad mood, I swear I have a small target on my back some days that says “Yes, I am an American, no, I do not know enough Hebrew, but I know you can speak English, sure, cut me off in line and give me stink eye throughout the store”
  • When you get to know a local, they are truly the nicest people you will ever meet!
  • When you go to a park expect to see children peeing in the bushes, sometimes near a trash can, sometimes just where ever they want. Even saw a kid pooping with the mom pointing to the spot he should use, and no it wasn’t in a “private” spot
  • Kids under the age of 5 can swim in the Sea naked!
  • Nobody likes to pick up their dog poop on the sidewalk, I have no idea why, there are trash cans EVERYWHERE that they could throw it into. It makes it for a tricky walk to the parks, especially when devin has the ball at his feet dribbling.
  • Bottled water EVERYWHERE!!! I hate it!! Sometime places refuse to give us tap water to drink with our meals. The tap water is fine to drink, as we have been drinking it for a month straight. Downfall is no fluoride in the water here. I JUST wish everyone would buy themselves a reusable bottle.
  • I need to read EVERY appliance before I plug into an adapter, I thought the alarm clock and Joycleyn’s sound machine would be ok to just plug into an adapter, NOPE…fried them both
  • Fruit and Veggies are SO cheap!! It’s the cheapest thing here, very fresh too. The cheapest place to get them is at the Shuk (HaCarmel Market in downtown Tel Aviv) but I will NEVER ever ever, go again on a Friday (that is a day off for Israelis and it’s the day before Shabbat) I also will never go to the regular grocery store on a Friday! SO, ALWAYS be prepared to have everything you need until Sunday (Saturday/Shabbat, most places are closed)
  • The other cheapest thing here is cell phone coverage, the only downfall is that you have to buy your phone outright. No contracts, we literally pay $30 US dollars for both of our phones (10 GB and Stateside calling!) BUT when huge lesson learned. (well, David said we would have to pay to have them unlocked online or something, but I was very antsy to get a phone up and going) When Verizon says your phone is “unlocked” for international, it is a LIE, all companies lie about this. You must buy the unlock code to officially unlock it (although we learned this AFTER we sold both of our brand new phones and had to buy iPhone on Amazon)
  • David says about his Hebrew skills (although I beg to differ) Your Hebrew language skills are never as good as you wish they would be, but never as bad as you might think.
  • Cats, CATS, CATS!! Stray cats everywhere, they are fed and given water all throughout the city. We have now had to have “that talk” with Devin about the boy cat going around and making kitties with the moms all throughout town.
  • Always pay attention to those stop lights. They go from Green, to 3 flashes of green, to yellow then red. Then when it is your turn to go on green the red light turns to yellow then green. IF your foot is NOT on that gas pedal by the time it goes from yellow to green you will get honked at, no matter what! It’s actually quite comical. They will honk even if you are the 5th car and can’t go.
  • No such thing as American coffee. Don’t go to a place and order coffee, it is not good, they drink either instant, which is very fine powdered coffee (and actually we have grown to kinda like) or they drink espressos or cappuccinos (and not the ones you get in America from a gas station with a pound of powder, it is pretty much an espresso with steamed milk. Add one pack of sugar and I am good to go!) We are missing our regular coffee some days, so we use our French press and my girlfriend Jill keeps me pretty stocked up on coffee from Hawaii :)

Sydney and Matan took us to Jaffa to explore the city one Saturday. It was a beautiful day and to look around at this ancient city and walk around and get to know new friends is really surreal. They took us on a boat ride out on the Med Sea so we could get a good look at the whole city and Jaffa. The kids loved looking over the boat at some really big moon jelly fish.

Sydney and I with Jaffa Port behind us
BEST restaurant in Israel!!! This is for a 4 adult meal only!! The service carries all the dishes back out on ONE trip in ONE armful!!
Jaffa, The Old city

So we fill our days with trips to the beach and to the Embassy pool. Or just hopping in the car and exploring the country in just a little drive. So many amazing historical sites to see. No wonder EVERYONE wants to live here or vacation here, Israel is the size of New Jersey and you can drive from the most northern point to the most southern point in 5 hours and go from Mountains, to Med Sea, to the Dead Sea, to the Red Sea, to the dessert all in ONE country!!

We Sea Glass hunt every time we go to the beach and we have TONS now. The kids and I are planning on maybe making jewelry out of it. We’ll see how that goes :)
Our “new” car and David feeling right at home with his defensive driving skills and Israeli parking!
One of the thousands of parks here

We took a small day trip one Saturday to Caesarea, which happens to be only about a 45 min drive from Tel Aviv. We got a National Park pass so we an explore any of the National Parks throughout Israel (which is like 150 parks!!)

Anyways, David and I explored this beautiful 25th BC port built when Herod the Great ruled, when we came in January. So we planned to explore AND snorkel. The sea was very rough that day, so we knew that snorkeling was going to be out of the question so when we got the ancient pool where King Herod would have fresh water pumped into his pool, we decided to climb down and explore closer. Pictures explains what happened next…

Kind Herod’s ancient pool

Just seconds after I snapped this pic, J (her and I took our sandals off, BIG mistake) she sliced her foot on, we believe, a piece of very sharp glass.
A very deep slice on her heal. Local park employees threw some Iodine on it and wrapped it for us. J also have a very weak stomach to blood, she kept passing out on us, here she is “sleeping”

Needless to say, we didn’t go snorkeling. We heading home and got her cleaned up and for the next 8 days she did NOTHING, no park, no beach, no pool. It healed without stiches (although it think it could have been glued to help heal faster) She healed just fine and it is now a good story to tell! :)

So right now as I type this we are in a waiting period to get the rest of our shipment, really hoping this will happen next week!!

We are looking forward to our next trip.

I hope this blog can help keep our friends and family informed of our lives and travels, I also hope and pray it will open your eyes to what an amazing country Israel is and how misconstrued it is.

Good bye America, Hello….Germany?!

Well, my apologies for not updating this sooner. One, I am not a very good writer, and secondly I don’t know how much I really want to share with the world nowadays with the insanity of the internet.

That being said…here is a an update for those interested. THIS post will be followed up by the first month in Israel. This is our trip to Germany, in route.

We got to spend our last evening in America with wonderful friends and their son. They were also so very kind to take us to the airport at 10:30pm! We packed pretty light, we each had one large bag, one carry on and a backpack. We did the great “hurry up, to wait” We were flying AMC (Air Mobility Command) this is a overseas flight to Germany that has all military on it, either they are PCSing or they are vacationing.  I got the run down from our friends and David that this may be a very uncomfortable flight, as it could be a very old jet, with uncomfortable seats and absolutely no service (slightly worried since I had hyped up the experience to the kids about the snacks, dinner and movies on the planes) Well, we didn’t have to board until 2am, yes, 2 am and we were at the airport at 10:30, we found a space, semi quiet, off in the corner by the windows to try and get some zzz’s. I plugged my phone in and turned on my white noise app on full blast and place it between the kids’ heads and said “lay here and try to sleep” Well, this is the most wonderful things about being a kid, you can pretty much sleep anywhere and be ok. As for David and I, not so much. I had brought Joyceyln’s “lovey” blanket, a light zip hoodie for myself, both kids has their light warm up jackets, and a beach towel I happened to pack in our carry on rolling suit case to pad my camera and other expensive gadgets. So, we set up camp, laid down with the kids and 20 mins after I feel asleep I woke up in a deep freeze. The AC was blowing SO cold onto us, so we wrapped the kids (UGH, what we do for our kids sometimes, well more often than not, becomes a huge sacrifice for us, haha) in what we had to spare and David and I ran laps and jumping jacks in the hall to stay warm and stay awake. We were desperate, so much so that we both contemplated stealing a whole roll of paper towels from the bathroom to use as a blanket. Don’t worry, we didn’t, we shivered and dozed off, and shivered and dozed off, and woke up with purple lips. But the good news is, the kids got to sleep for a solid 3 hours!

At least kids got to sleep a little
DELTA!! Yeah baby!

It was time to carry 2 very tired kids to the gate. We looked out the window and found that our jet was a United 747 jet. My heart leapt for joy!!  I was at the point that I didn’t care about the movie, dinners or anything, I just wanted a comfortable seat with a blanket.  We finally got on the jet, set in our seat at about 3am. Lots of long naps, games, books, coloring, and at the end of the last 2 hours Joycelyn just roamed around the aisle back and forth bored. And about 9 hours later…We landed in Germany at about 5p.m. in that time zone.

Heading to Germany first

We left the good old USA at the very beginning of June and got to spend a few days inprocessing in Germany.  We rented a car and did what we needed to do on base and then went full force exploring! Germany is AMAZING!! There is so much you can do and so many beautiful cities & towns to see, there is no way we could do it in a few days, therefore…will someday hope to go back!
Our hotel alone was simply the cutest place! The kids got to sleep in their own little room (with our rooms adjoining by a small hallway) but they thought this was the coolest thing ever. It sat in the middle of a mountain and at the foot of a castle! You don’t get to do something like that in America!!


Morning tea on my birthday with Joycelyn

We took a drive to Trier, Germany first.  This city is the oldest continuous city in Germany and was founded by the Romans in the late 1st century BC. I urge you to just read a little about this city here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trier because I can’t even describe to you the history here. We walk a lot this day and made a pit stop to bribe the kids to keep going with fancy hot fudge sundaes.  We don’t usually bribe (what parent has ever said they have never bribed, if they have told you they don’t, they lie) so, we don’t USUALLY bribe, but when it comes to a 9 and 6 year old and making them walk miles and miles and teaching them about the history and the sites, it can get very exhausting. Pit stops at random parks and candy and ice cream here and there works when you have been site seeing for 6 hours!

Protestant Church!
A fortified city!!
Roman Bath house.
The Amphitheater

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I am absolutely in love with my wide angle lens, but sometimes there is a time or two that I would like my 35 or even zoom, but my there is no way I could have gotten some amazing pictures of these places if it wasn’t for my wide angle. The inside of the church’s we visited was too dark for my lens and of course, my batteries died in my external flash.

Our car ride back lead to more cat naps for the kids (and me) which doesn’t make for good jet lag, but the long car rides are boring, and when you are exhausted its very hard to stay awake! I have an amazing husband who always lets me and the kids sleep on all of our car trips!! He powered through like champ!

Always falling asleep! This went on for about a week, falling asleep where ever they could

We went to dinner with some of our wonderful friends from Pensacola and their 4 kids. It was such a special evening getting to catch up with them and also finding out that we got to also toast to a promotion!! The AF life has brought some amazing people in our lives and we are so very thankful that God has placed such special people in our paths!!  I also had Jagerschnitzel every single evening while in Germany, but it’s ok, Israel has Schnitzel everywhere too!!

Our next day adventures we went to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. So awesome that it gets to be it OWN country!! Yes, this I never knew. I married a history and geographic buff, me…not so much, and I am learning more and more everyday!!
Anyway… A Roman Era city, that was again, once fortified. Read about it here


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This day I was feeling my worst with my allergies (once I stepped off the plane in Germany I started sneezing) but this day was bad. This land is so beautiful and lush with gorgeous tree and flowers, but I am allergic to it all, apparently.  One of the coolest things about this area was walking INSIDE the fortified wall, called the Casemates. Then when you step outside and walk around and back up to the top, you see the grandeur of it!! Just spectacular and absolutely stunning!

Once we left Luxembourg we decided to do the 35 min drive north to see the Vianden Castle. I know I am pasting all kinds of Wikipedia pages, but I didn’t know if any of you would like to learn something new today :)  and this castle and the fortified old city that surrounded it were breathtaking…Highly recommend this!

Getting hot and tired!
The Dance hall
Those Tapestries!!!

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What a sight this castle was!! The kids were about DONE, you know it because they just don’t have that fire in their shoes like they have the last 6 hours. So we made the castle exploring fun by pretending to live there and Joycelyn was the princess while David and Devin had to fight for her.

Our last day was meant for Frankfurt where our flight left the next day.  Our plans were to do some sightseeing and Devin really wanted to visit some Ann Frank museums (He is also a history buff like his dad) but by the time we cabbed it to our hotel and discovered the location (next to the Frankfurt Zoo) the kids begged us to do the zoo. Well, that was slightly short lived, it was nothing like what they have been used to in Omaha (because NOTHING can compare to Omaha Zoo!) and it happened to be a VERY hot day in Germany. Actually we were very blessed with beautiful weather our 3 days there, NO rain and it was in the high 70’s. But the day of the zoo happened to be almost 90. We were all very hot and tired from still jet lagging (remember those naps, they are actually horrible for your body when you jet jag)
So after the zoo David just had to try an authentic Bierhaus, so we ventured out with our paper map (no phones for google maps) and 2 exhausted hungry kids. Not a good combination, but we made it (after about a mile walk) and it wasn’t as it was advertised, a little let down, but good food overall! Afterwards found a place to get the kids MORE Kinder eggs, to cheer them up! More bribery, slightly…

Got to the hotel, showered up and headed to bed knowing our cab was picking us up to take us to the airport at 0630.  Well, our hotel room had 1 king bed, which isn’t bad. We have done that before, they did leave us a pack and play for Joycelyn, who seriously wanted to sleep in it! And Devin got the cot, well, as I said before, it was a very hot day that day, and the AC in the hotel was only allowed to go to 28 degrees C (about 82 degrees F) and the unit would shut off after an hour!!! Well, if you know my husband AND my kids they are always HOT. So every hour we would strip off more clothes and either David or myself would get up (EVERY hour!) to turn the AC back on. We eventually all slept as much as we could in our undies and I found David on the floor, desperate for cooler air. And yes, I called the front desk to try and get a fan, they had no idea what I was asking for and even tried to describe what a fan does (you know blows air, electric, etc) to no avail. NO Fan..
This made for a good laugh now, but man, at the time we were all ready for the morning to pack out and just head to Israel!!

Our first evening in Israel. We can walk to the beach from our home!

Our wonderful “familiarization” trip to our new home

David and I headed to Tel Aviv, Israel on a very long 2-stop plane ride for a brief 5 day trip to explore our new home land and to get what we can done before we move in June.


We got to meet with Tel Aviv University and meet with the Registrar for David’s program, although its too early to register for class in the Fall, but at least this was a way to explore the campus and to help the administration staff see a face when David goes back to enroll and test. TAU is a beautiful campus and only a short walk from where we will be living. Getting to hear David speak Hebrew (I thought pretty fluently, since it’s the first time I have actually heard him speak it for a length of time) I would say, I am SO proud of him. He is taking this opportunity and running with it with full effort!


After visiting the university we were able to explore Jaffo for a day, the weather was wonderful and the food was even better!! The mix of different fresh salads are delicious, and of course so are the falafels and hummus!! There are also cats everywhere; and they are very cute, but when they stare at you so innocently for food, its kinda heartbreaking, but don’t worry these cats are not starving, there is plenty of food for them, either dumpster food or even the cat food people leave out for them.055

This cat was tired of staring at me and yawning to prove it.

Joycelyn is going to flip out when she sees them all!



Jaffo with Tel Aviv in the background, simply stunning!

We also explored The Shuck Ha’Carmel of Tel Aviv, AKA the market. Just another spot we fell in love with. The spices, the colors, the kind people all around, kids after school sharing their shekels for candy, just won our hearts

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We did a lot of walking, a lot of eating and lots of “just soaking it in.”  The Tel Aviv Promenade (tayelet)” is being transformed into an even more beautiful, family friendly, beach boardwalk. It is nearly completed and we were able to walk along it one evening at sunset. There were so many people just out and about, kids riding bikes, kicking soccer balls against the walls, running, working out, eating at one of the many cute, delicious beach cafes, having a local Goldstar beer, a group of kids getting a lesson of how to sail boat or paddle board or playing Matkot (racquet paddleboard game played at the beach, it is the national beach sport in Israel) which is very popular among locals, we of course, bought some and are hoping to get some good practice in before we move. Devin and David are already pretty good at it!

We got to take a tour of the kids’ school campus and meet with the registrar. Then we drove up to Caesarea. We were so lucky to have one of warmest days since we arrived, it was close to 74 degrees!! We toured the Roman Theater, Hippodrome, Aqueduct, in addition to simply walking throughout the ruins which date back approximately 2000 years when it was the provincial capital of the region.  It was stunning now; so I cannot imagine how beautiful it would have been then in its full glory. To walk on the same grounds as what we have studied and read in the book of Acts was simply incredible and so surreal.

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We ate lunch at a wonderful place on the water and then discovered the old port where we could walk out on. I found some beautiful pieces of sea glass and we took a few fun pictures. Saw some people snorkeling, so next time we will bring our gear!!

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On our last day we traveled to Jerusalem to visit another Olmsted Scholar, Jenn, who has been in Jerusalem for 18 months now, so we not only wanted to meet her and get some good info about moving to Israel, but also to have her take us around her city for a day.  This is where the New Testament came alive before our eyes, its hard to explain unless you have been there, but let me know if you want to talk about his more ;)
We explored the Old City and the “typical” Jerusalem churchs. We are thankful she spent the day with us and we can’t wait to see more of her and her fiancé when we move.

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We literally only spent 4 full days in Israel, and with those 4 days we fell in love with our new “HOME”
Again, can’t believe this is happening and again, we are SO thankful to the foundation for allowing us this opportunity!!!

Pressing onto Israel

I wanted to write and submit this post to help everyone understand that while the Middle East (not just Israel) is in a state of turmoil, we will still be moving to Tel Aviv in the coming year, and truly have little fear in doing so. In all honesty, I/we believe that living in a large city in the United States is just as dangerous as living in Israel right now; despite the constant rocket warnings that they undergo daily. Yes, Israel is living in war right now, but we have done a lot of praying and talking about our own situation and understand that life itself is a blessing and that it can be taken in any moment, whether here or abroad. We do not want to live our life scared or fearful, God has placed this in our hands and we will do our best to live up to what God has called us to do. The situation that is going on in Israel (in addition to those other countries across the world) is one that is heartbreaking. In America, we watch the news and listen to the newscasters tell us what they “think” is going on. Depending on what news station you watch often means what political side is being taken, in addition to a constant blame game. Be aware of what they are saying, then compare and research. If you haven’t read much into the Middle East conflict and what Israel, as a country means, then I strongly encourage you to study up and learn the history…which is simply a miracle in itself.

We are so very grateful that the Olmsted foundation has chosen us (ok, chosen David) to represent the USAF abroad as a student and a scholar of Tel Aviv University. This opportunity is an opportunity of a lifetime and we plan on making the best of it and fully immersing ourselves into their culture in the holiest place in the world.

The one thing that I ask from my family and friends: please don’t hesitate to speak to us about what concerns you, and/or questions or opinions. We (David and I) have our strong opinions on the conflict and this blog is not the place to discuss that. Secondly, please pray for Israel, the Gaza, in addition to all of those being persecuted for their faith throughout the Middle East and around the world. We often take for granted living in the United States, where we have the opportunity to gather and express our faiths and opinions without fear of reprisal, imprisonment or even death.
John 15:19-21
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.”

Pray that eyes will be open all around the world.

My Lighthouse



So, I woke up this morning, after 2 days of over 7 hours a day at the soccer fields, with hope in my heart and one of my favorite songs on my mind. You may think I am crazy, but I wake up every morning with a different Christian song in my mind. It’s been going on for over a year and I absolutely love hearing God talk to me through these songs. Anyway, this song by Rend Collective – My Lighthouse. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPtIv2lnkTY ) It goes like this:

“In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
You’re great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence You won’t let go
In the questions Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
Shining in the darkness I will follow You

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to shore

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms”

These lyrics speak right to me, last week I had a realization, that I can’t do everything as I want or plan. “I WON’T FEAR WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS”  I have to trust that God is leading us and I HAVE to put my full trust in him that things WILL work out how they are supposed to, it just may not be as smooth as my Type A personality will like. So, I “gave up” on trying to get things slightly organized and prepared and just went about business and prayed, and prayed and prayed. I even had a good friend take Joycelyn all day for me to get “stuff” done and I still found myself unloading a tote at The Redemption Store (our church’s thrift store) and I stayed to “work” for 3 hours!!! Thankful for good friends’ that have amazing, giving hearts!!!

 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

So, from the beginning of this post, I said I woke up with Hope in my heart. Well, David called this morning saying we have been “approved” to go to D.C. and orders are on their way!!!  Devin’s minor medical conditions were slightly the “problem” So our “plans” can resume. I have found us an excellent apartment in Arlington and started the paperwork today. We can MAYBE slip our trip back home to Iowa/Illinois/Nebraska in the middle of June, because we will more than likely not be able to visit family and friends before we go to Israel.
We spent Mother’s Day weekend in Fairhope, Alabama at the Mobile Bay Spring Classic Soccer Tournament. David’s/Devin’s team (U9 Strikers-PBFC) got First place in the Gold division!! David has been coaching these kids for about a year and to see the end of the season with this kind of a win and getting to watch how much these kids have progressed and played with all heart and soul, has been amazing. We will miss our soccer family!
We also got to write a small section in our Church’s newsletter about our adventure and about how much Perdido Bay United Methodist Church has meant to us in just a short 2 years. I will write more about our Church in a later post, when we say our official “good-byes” because right now, honestly, I am not quite ready to say good-bye to them yet.

We also had our first “I will really miss my friends” cry with Devin. He is 8 and has developed so many special friends within our Church family and soccer. He is afraid they will forget about him. We went to Target after school today and bought a journal for him to ask his friends to write their information down (mom and dad’s email, address, phone number, facetime name..etc..) so he can keep in touch with them.
If you are reading this and have been a BRAT or have a BRAT of your own, or just have a suggestion what else we can do, it would be greatly appreciated. He knows what a blessing this opportunity is for us, but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

MAJORly Proud and humble. Can that happen?



Yesterday David pinned on Major. We are all so proud of him, but also take a step back in humility.

“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

We know we haven’t been able to get this far in his career if it wasn’t for so many that have lead our paths and guided us all.  First and foremost God. David and I, both know, that God’s hand was in our meeting 12 years ago (finding one another in a large crowd, was a very random, possibly divine, happen to “run into” each other, after two years when we first met at Truman State University where he was friends with my sister) We spent the entire summer together and got engaged 8 months later.  All our family and friends thought we were nuts, but we just “knew” and God smiled. Our lives would change when David signed with the Air Force. God again, smiled, because I truly believe He has called David into this life for a reason, David was born a leader and with God in his heart, David will go miles beyond.
Nav/EWO school happened shortly after we got married and our first year brought us our first Air Force family/friends. I am very grateful for these friendships we have met along the way, we are all so supportive of one another, and it’s wonderful crossing paths at different duty stations as we move along! After graduation, we headed to Omaha, NE, Offutt AFB where David would fly on the RC-135. David had the first of MANY amazing bosses, and for me, amazing wives, who also lead by elegant example and showed me the true foundation of what a devoted military wife and mother is. Lt Col Bauer to Lt Compton and his outstanding Wife Kristi, then to Lt Col Humphrey and his fantastic wife Theresa. Then off to the 55th OPS group with Colonel Hansen and his amazing wife Chris. We met some wonderful people and I really do cherish all those fun memories and friendships. Sometimes timing in the AF is what “needs” to happen for careers, but when I look back, I know that all those years (12+ deployments to working 80 hours a week as Exec) were for a certain reason. Our time in Omaha felt like “home.” We met our closest friends and grew in our faith at a wonderful church for 6+ years. We had our two children in Omaha and even though they are “BRATS” they both say they are from Omaha. It didn’t hurt we were only a “short” 5 hour drive to our hometown; close to our family and lifelong friends.  Something that was paramount for our Children as they grew up, at least getting to still see their grandparents despite being military brats.

We moved to Pensacola, Florida in late July 2012, for David to become a CSO/Nav instructor with Lt Col Moser and his outstanding wife, Kristie. And now our current boss, Lt Col Rivera and his fantastic wife, Becca. ALL these Colonel’s and spouses have shown us and proven to us, how graceful, loyal, dedication and “rock solid” these relationships are & can be in the AF.

All of this comes to the door that was opened to Olmsted. With my (Kristy’s need for extreme micromanaging and MUST have all things planned) lists’ keep growing, but my feet feel planted in Perdido, I start to feel a little overwhelmed at what is ahead. I (Kristy) actually get very choked up when I am sitting and praying, knowing that our lives will be forever changed because of this and I am “nervously joyful”. We have created some amazing friendships here in Perdido that I know will continue to grow where ever we go, but I also don’t feel quite “ready” to leave. We feel so honored that God has chosen this for our path and we want to be able to Glorify Him in all this. So, how do we do that? We work at it one day at a time, giving Him the glory and TRUSTING Him with our full obedience.

First post, apologies, the beginning

So, here we go. I want to first and foremost apologize for any rambling (because this is something I even do everyday), for any bad punctuation, spelling errors, for any bad, or is it poor, English grammar (which I am going to start learning another language, so that should make things interesting since I am not the best at even ENGLISH!) or for jumping around.

I am by NO means a writer, so you will be reading our stories, pretty much through my thoughts, I will probably get better with time, but please bare with me. I am really only writing to keep the people that care and the people that I love up to date on our journey.

Now, our journey…

We have been AD Air Force for 10 years, after David received a school select position, we sat and talked and prayed about what we wanted to do next. David had dreamed of trying to get into the Olmsted scholarship program, learn LOTS more at http://www.olmstedfoundation.org. In short, this program would send us overseas to another country to get a Master’s degree and study that culture, for only 2 years. This will replace the School Select year instead. So, he applied at the end of the summer 2013. After a few hundred AF applicants (all branches can apply) the AF board made a selection of about 14 men and women for a phone interview. David was one of them. We were even shocked to get that far. For the next several months David and I did a lot of praying. We feel God is using us here in Pensacola/Perdido Key in a lot of areas and absolutely LOVE our Church family and the mission’s we are doing through them, and our PBFC (Soccer) life has kicked off as well. David started coaching Devin’s Academy team and has fallen in love with the game again and I see such passion in both of them, it’s truly a gift! So, where does God feel we need to be. With Serving the Lord in so many areas here, working the Redemption Store, serving on the Mission board, Working the food bank… I have felt God is calling to stretch me.
I want to serve Him more overseas someday, so is this my opportunity??
With my nursing degree, but being a stay at home mom the past 8 years. I could never “work” in the states and feel competent with all the advances in the medical field, therefore, I would need to go back to school anyway. AND my kids come first, I LOVE being a Stay at Home Mom and wouldn’t change that for the world, but Joycelyn will be starting Kindergarten (I can’t believe it!) so what am I to do during the days they are both in school….MORE SERVING, is where my heart is! So, maybe if we move overseas I would get the chance to use my nursing skills I have by serving in a Free clinic or some missionary type work.
So…GOD, Where do you want the Manrrique’s to go???

So the Date that the Olmsted Board meets was March 18, 2014. They pick from every branch the scholars that were interviewed in November. As the time approached our anxieties became more evident. David didn’t feel he did well in the interview and was saying he didn’t think he got it. I felt like he would get it and our life would forever change, then I started panicking and thinking I wanted to back out before the list was chosen!! UGH….I hate those thoughts of doubt, they do not come from our Father. James 1:6 “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

March 20th comes around. The list is officially out, AFPC writes an article about it. http://www.afpc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123404302

David is selected 1 of 5 in the Air Force!!!
WHOA!!! Here is a verse that I had written on the kids’ bathroom mirror. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

THEN, God says wait….”guess what country I am sending you to”
David will be studying at Tel Aviv University in 2015-2017

Pure excitement and Joy fills our hearts. This is a chance of a lifetime, the kids are thrilled to see the Holy Land, let alone LIVE there!!!
So, it’s off to Language school this June 2014 in Washington DC for Hebrew.
Please keep us all in your prayers as we try to “sort” our lives out over the course of the next few months. I was just telling Devin that God has called us to serve in the Military and travel the world, He will always go before us and guide our paths, as long as we keep our minds, eyes, hearts on Him!!